A. R. (Augustus Robert) Buckland.

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rapid progress with their language, and his resolve
to become one of themselves, which so soon gave
him a secure place in their affections. In eight
months, to their surprise and joy, he could preach
to them in Cree without an interpreter. But he
had, of course, his difficulties and his blunders.


Once, for example, he was explaining to a class of
young men the story of the Creation. " God," he
said, "created Eve out of one of Adam's ^ — " he
meant to say "ribs," but, as the laughter of his
hearers showed him, he really said "pipes." But
that is the kind of mistake which every learner is
likely to make.

It must not, however, be assumed that Horden
had come to a place where a missionary's life was
likely to be one of ease. The more he knew of the
people the more he saw how sadly they needed the
gospel he had come to preach. Crime of the
grossest character abounded. Men made little of
murdering their aged parents or their young
children, and cannibalism resulted in the times
of famine. The European's life was not always safe,
and his property was the object of attentions with
which he would often have willingly dispensed.
Horden himself, however, had little reason to
complain of the people. Indeed, it was their own
liking which became the means of keeping him
in their midst.


It had been the Society's plan to send a clergyman
to Moose and allow Horden to prepare for ordination
at Eed Kiver, under the eye of the Bishop of
Eupert's Land. That plan was never carried out.
Instead of the young missionary going to the bishop,
the bishop came to him.

Bishop Anderson reached Moose at the end of a
six weeks' journey. He had travelled 1500 miles
over lake and river to reach this outlying post. He
had expected to find a novice ; he found an expert.
Horden knew the people and knew the language.
They were distressed at the bare thought of losing
him. What was to be done? The bishop's good
sense solved the difficulty. He examined Horden
carefully, ordained him deacon and priest, left him
at Moose, and arranged that the other clergyman
should go elsewhere.

Bishop Anderson had made no mistake. Horden
settled down with quiet enthusiasm to his work.
Cut off though they were from the world, there was
variety of labour. In the winter the population of
the village was small; but the people, old and



young, could be taught. Occasionally there was
building work to be done, in which Horden's manual
skill was of great use. And always there was the
task of translating the word of God into the
language of the people. To this task Horden early
gave his attention, and upon it he was still engaged
in his last months of life.




A Winter Journey — Dogs and Snow-Shoes — A Famine in the Land
— And a Flood — Amongst the Eskimo — A Long Day's Work
— The Bible for the People — A New Trade Learned — Early


N summer it became possible to
travel, and then the outlying stations
called for care. At distances vary-
ing from 50 to 430 miles from
Moose there were posts at which, at certain seasons,
bodies of Indians were to be found. One of the
first stations visited was Albany, a hundred
miles north of Moose. His own account gives a
vivid picture of the difficulties met by the in-
experienced traveller : —




"I started," he wrote, " from Moose on January
5th, 1852, in a sleigh drawn by five dogs and ac-
companied by two Indians. After riding eight or
nine miles I walked for a time, but found myself
unable to keep pace with the dogs. We were
obliged to walk about two miles through thickly-set


willows, in snow-shoes, sinking at every step a full
foot in the snow. Being unaccustomed to this kind
of marching I found it very fatiguing, and, having
never before placed snow-shoes on my feet, had two
or three falls, and, the snow being so deep, was
unable to rise without assistance. Could you have
seen me then in full armour, with a flannel and fur


cap on my head, pilot-coat, scarf, mittens, and snow-
shoes, I little think you would have recognised in
me the young man sitting before you in your study,
whom you asked whether he wished to come to this

A fortnight was spent at Albany, and the return
was made " with few mishaps," though, in the same
letter, we learn that " during two days the cold was
most intense, our faces being frost-bitten — mine not
considerably, as it was quickly discovered." This
incidental way of alluding to hardships will be found
in all the bishop's letters from first to last. He
never " makes a fuss " ; difficulties, trials, sufferings —
all are in " the day's work." In 1854 there was great
scarcity of food, amounting to famine — that was a
trial always to be feared and often to be faced. In
June 1857 danger of another kind threatened the
settlement. Immense quantities of snow had fallen
in the winter, and the break-up of the ice in the
river was expected with more than usual anxiety.
A flood was looked for, and a flood came.


" On the night of May 21st the noise, as of distant
thunders, told of the conflict going on between the
rushing waters and the still compact ice, great
masses of which were being occasionally thrown up
in heaps. Soon the alarm bell rang, which told us
of our danger, and some gentlemen from the Factory
instantly came to, conduct us thither, as our house is
in a very exposed position. The river was now
twenty feet above its usual level, and large hills of ice,
twenty feet high, were thrown up in several places.
The water continued to rise, until it was five feet
higher, by which time every house on the island,
except the Factory, was flooded; the water, as we
afterwards ascertained, having been five feet nine
inches deep in my own kitchen."

Happily, although much damage was done, no
life was lost. But such effects are long felt by
the Indians, for the rabbits which supply them
with food and covering are swept off by the flood.
There was another visitation of the kind in the
spring of 1860, when the wooden church, then


building, was floated off and carried nearly a quarter
of a mile from its foundation. In the fall of the year
the same danger seemed to be upon them.

But there was a bright side even to these visita-
tions, for they meant the break-up of the long, gloomy,
trying winter, the prospect of a change of food, a
change of work, and news from distant friends. In
the long frost-bound months the Indians felt the
hardship of dwelling in a barren land; so little
stood between them and actual starvation. At one
post, early visited by Horden, out of 120 Indians
a sixth died of hunger in one season.

At that station one man had saved his life at the
expense of his children. There were six little ones ;
he killed and ate them all. The desolation of the
land, which yields so little to man, was brought home
to the missionary on that journey. He had 430
miles to travel, and, "during the whole way," he
wrote, " I saw no tent or house, not even human
being, until I arrived within a short distance of
the post. I appeared to be passing through a foreign


Yet a land of even greater desolation was under
his care. At Whale Eiver there were Eskimo, and
to these Horden early paid a visit. In 1862 he was
able to give them more attention.

Keen student of languages as Horden was —
and he even learned something of Norwegian, in
order to be able to minister to the Europeans at
Moose — he was dependent partly during this visit
on the help of an interpreter. That interpreter is an
interesting reminder of the way in which one mission
helps another. For the young Eskimo who served
Horden had formerly lived on the coast of Labrador.
Whilst there he had come under the instruction
of the Moravian missionaries, and had carried to
Whale Eiver, on the shores of Hudson's Bay,
some knowledge of their teaching. He could speak
a little English, knew some texts, and remembered
some hymns well. Thus the Moravians in far-off
Labrador had, all unknown to themselves, prepared
the way of the gospel" in another land.

The journey to Whale Eiver was trying, but the
missionary felt well repaid. He wrote home in the


following year, that " those eight days were indeed
blessed ones, and will not soon be forgotten by me,
for they were amongst the most successful missionary
days I have had since I have been in the country."

His day's work amongst them was much as
follows. At six in the mprning he began with a
service for the Eskimo, to which some came " dressed
very much like working men in England," in
imported garments ; others in the seal-skin clothing
popular amongst them ; and one woman in " an
English gown, of which she seemed not a little
proud." The service was a mixture of worship and
instruction, with as much singing as possible.

This over, the missionary went to breakfast.
After breakfast came a service for the Indians,
who were less eager than the Eskimo, although more
advanced in knowledge.

When Horden had ended his lesson to the Indians
he went to school himself — that is to say, he took
a lesson from his Eskimo interpreter. This over,
he began visiting the homes of his flock — seal-
skin tents, and not the ice-houses of which we










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hear at other times. Then came a walk ; then
another service with the Eskimo; then another
with the Indians; an English service for the few
Europeans at the station j another hour learning
Eskimo ; a half an hour's social chat ; and at last,
" with feelings of thankfulness at having been placed
as a labourer in the vineyard of the Lord, I retired
to rest."

Horden was greatly drawn towards these Eskimo
of Whale River ; they seemed so gentle, so contented
under many hardships, so ready to learn, so sincere
in their new faith. Three were baptized during this
visit, two of whom afterwards became man and wife.
This little church was soon sorely tried, for the young
interpreter was drowned, and the Christian wife

One other department of work, in which Horden
made great strides during his first period of residence
in Moosonee, remains to be noticed. Every wise
missionary wishes his people as soon as possible to
have the Bible, or at least some of it, in their own
tongue. Horden was fully alive to this part of his


duty, and from the first worked at translation. But
the busiest writer finds himself hard pushed, unless
he can have the aid of the printing-press. Something
had been done for the mission at home, but more
was to be done by Horden himself at Moose.

To his great joy the ship one year brought out
every requisite for a small printing-office. It was
true that Horden knew nothing of type-setting, or of
taking impressions from the type when set; but
his early training again came in useful. Nothing
daunted, he set to work at the new trade, and taught
a small boy to help him. It was slow work, and so
different from the means they had seen him use
before, that some of his faithful Indians feared this
new task had turned his brain. But when the first
eight pages were printed off their delight was almost
as great as his own. To the occupations of translator
and printer Horden added that of a poet, with the
result that, before he took his first holiday to
England, he had given the Indians the Four Gospels,
a prayer-book, and a hymn-book in the Cree


But these labours were not without a drawback.
Working early and late, with much anxiety of many
kinds, he found, when his book of the Gospels was
complete, that his strength was overtaxed. " I
have felt," he wrote, " that even a very strong consti-
tution has limits, which it may not pass with
impunity." That he did not caution himself without
good cause will easily be believed when Horden's
many tasks are kept in mind. Thus, apart from all
other work, he learned Cree, Ojibbeway, and Eskimo,
for the benefit of the natives ; Norwegian, for some
of the Company's staff; and Hebrew, that he might
be the better able to translate the Old Testament in

His labours were not in vain. Before he thought
of visiting England for his first holiday, he was able
to estimate that 1800 Indians in his district had
either been baptized or were waiting for the rite.



The Coming of the Ship — A Wreck — A Perilous Voyage-
Rest and Return to Work.

HE Hordens left England in 1851;
they wished to go home for a few
months in 1864. We shall all agree
that they had earned a holiday, but
it was not any yearning for " rest and change " that
caused them to return. Children had been born to
them, and three were then at an age at which it was
desirable that they should go to English schools.
Horden planned, therefore, to leave Moose by the
ship of 1864, and to reach England in the October
or November of that year.



The coming of the ship with its cargo of food, of
clothing, of merchandise, and of news was always
eagerly looked for by Europeans and natives alike.
It was expected all through August. When the
23rd, and the latest known date for its appearance
had gone, despair began to be felt. Something had
happened ; they would have to get on as best they
might for twelve more months. But some hoped.

Yet September passed, and there was no ship.
October came, and then on the 7th, in the midst of a
fearful storm, they heard, " the report of large guns
at sea."

" The ship's come ! " was the cry.

The people slept that night in pleasant anticipa-
tion of joy on the morrow.

But the morrow brought disappointment. The
guns came from a schooner sent from York Factory
to break the bad news. The Moose ship had been
wrecked within the bay, and little save the letters
had been saved.

The ship of 1865 fared better, but she too had
been in perils, had been injured by the ice, and had


to be patched up at Moose before the return voyage
could begin. When fairly afloat it was soon clear to
the Hordens that the voyage would be a very differ-
ent one from their first. His own account of the
early dangers is, as usual, vivid : —

" We left Moose with a fair wind, which took us
in safety over our long, crooked, and dangerous bar ;
but we had not proceeded above half a day's sail
before a heavy storm came upon us. Dangers were
around us, the dread of all coming to Moose Fac-
tory, the Gasket Shoal, was ahead ; the charts were
frequently consulted ; the captain was anxious, sleep
departed from his eyes. We are at the commence-
ment of the straits ; we see land — high, rugged, barren
hills ; snow is lying in the valleys, stern winter is
already come ; it seems a home scarcely fit for the
white bear and the walrus. What are these solitary
giants, raising their heads so high, and appearing so
formidable ? They are immense icebergs, which have
come from regions still farther north, and are now
being carried by the current through Hudson's Straits


into the Atlantic Ocean. The glass speaks of coming
bad weather, the topsails are reefed, reefs are put to
the mainsail ; and now it is on us, the wind roars
through the rigging, the ship plunges and creaks.
Night comes over the scene ; there is no cessation of
the tempest ; it howls and roars — it is a fearful night !
One of the boats is nearly swept away, and is saved
with difficulty ; we have lost some of our rigging ;
one man is washed overboard, and washed back
again. The sea breaks over the vessel, and dashes
tato the cabin ; but One mightier has said, ' Hitherto
shalt thou come and no farther.* By the morning,
the morning of the Sabbath, the wind had abated."

The voyage which began in this way continued to
be one of weariness. But at last they reached home,
and were able to spend some months amidst familiar
scenes at Exeter. The old objection to missionary
work was now no longer felt by Horden's father,
and both parents now found themselves fully in
sympathy with the son's work in life.

Having placed some of their children at school,
and obtained a little of the rest so well earned, Mr.


and Mrs. Horden went back to the field in 1867.
This time they approached their desolate home from
the south, travelling by steamer and rail as far as
Montreal, and then covering the last 1200 miles in
canoes. For Horden himself this would not have
meant much hardship ; but Mrs. Horden had her
two youngest children with her, and for them the
long journey was not without its dangers. The
party had, of course, to camp out at night, and
occasionally the canoes reached places where all the
passengers had to land whilst " portages " were made.
But they reached their destination safely, and were
warmly welcomed. They returned in time to be of
help to their neighbours in a winter of great scarcity
and hardship.

Mr. Horden was at once plunged into his former
occupations, and added to them a new one. A
harmonium had been provided for the little church
at Moose, and he learnt to play it.



A Canoe Journey — Fighting the Ice — Simple Worshippers —
Indian Liberality — Missionary and Mechanic — The Decay
of Heathenism.

ORDEN now began a series of
missionary journeys, longer than
any he had hitherto attempted.
In May 1868 he started for
a post called Brunswick House, which lies
far to the south-east, near Lake Superior. The
journey, made by canoe, lasted eleven days. The
river was full of ice, and the travellers were several
times in serious danger. Horden spent nine days
amongst the Indians at Brunswick House, and then
turned home again: A few days were spent at



Moose, and then he was away once more ; this time
heading to the north-east to Rupert's House. There
he found some three or four hundred Indians, many
of whom had known and practised the worst evils
of heathenism, but who were now honest Chris-


fcian people. Two Sundays were spent at Eupert's
House ; then the missionary turned due north along
the coast of James' Bay (the southern extension
of Hudson's Bay), travelling by canoe to Fort
George, doing the two hundred miles in four days


and a half. Here lie had pleasant intercourse with
another body of Christian Indians under a native

Only a few days could be spent at Fort George,
after which passage was taken by a schooner to go
still farther north. Their destination was Great
Whale Kiver, but the journey threatened to be
disastrous. Horden himself thus pictures the ex-
periences of this journey: —

" We get half-way, then, as the vessel cannot move
forward, I leave it, and, accompanied by two native
sailors, proceed in a small boat. Two days bring us
to an encampment of Indians. I now leave my boat
and enter a canoe, having with me Keshkumash, his
wife, and their young son; two other canoes, each
containing a man and his wife, keep us company.
We have to work in earnest. Sometimes we go
along fast ; then we were in the midst of ice, and
could not move at all ; again we were chopping a
passage for the canoes with our axes; and then,
when we could do nothing else, we carried it over


the rocks and set it down where the ice was not so
closely packed.

"After two days and a half of this we came to a
standstill, and I determined to go on foot. I took
one Indian with me, and we set off. Our walk was
over high, bare hills ; rivers ran through several of
the valleys, these we waded."

Arrived at last at his destination, there were
heathen Indians to deal with, some of whom received
his message, whilst some did not. But Horden had
not yet reached his farthest point north, and there-
fore pushed on to Little Whale Kiver, where he was
amongst the Eskimo. Then, and not till then,
did he return south.

In 1870 came another series of long journeys,
marked by so much hardship that Horden's health
suffered. He left Moose in June, and travelled up
the river to J^ew Brunswick, having for his com-
panions during a part of the time some Indians, who,
before they knew a white missionary, had learned
from a Christian Indian how to worship God,


Their way was very simple. One gave out the verse
of a hymn ; another repeated a text of Scripture ;
then came more of the hymn, and then more texts.
After this they knelt, and some half a dozen began
to pray all at once. The heathen observers found
opportunity to speak, and one explained that he had
been favoured with a visit from a spirit, which
declared that it would withdraw its protection from
his children if he gave them up. for Christian

From New Brunswick Horden went on to the
south-east, to a station called Matawakumma.
There the Indians were decreasing in numbers, but
not in their love for Christ. For amongst them
Horden made what he called "the largest com-
parative collection I have ever made in my life, no
less than £8, 2s. 8d." The liberality of these little
scattered communities was indeed remarkable. If
they could not give in coin they could in

One collection from an Indian congregation
produced fifty - eight beavers, then equal to a


sum of £8, 14s. When Horden was building a
school at Moose, they gave part of their aid in
labour, and worked to the value of £20. Before
Horden returned a second time to England, he
had built five churches, not one of which could
have been raised without the hearty co-opera-
tion of the Christian Indians. That in the building
of them he had reason again and again to be
thankful for the early training which made him a
good artisan, is plain enough from his letters. But,
like Mackay, he knew that he could be serving God
just as well when working with hammer and chisel
as when praying with a little group of Indians
encamped for the night by some swift stream, or
preaching in one of the churches raised in part by
his own labour, or when brightening with the sure
promises of God, the deathbed of some believing

But a new iifisponsibility was about to fall on
Horden, and, in preparation for this, he went to
England in. 1872.

When he left Moose, heathenism was almost ex-



tinct there. Twelve native teachers, trained by him,
were ministering to their brethren ; and the number
of declared Christians in his district was estimated
at 1625.



Horden Consecrated Bishop of Moosonee — A Great Diocese, Few
People — At Work once more — A Day's Tasks — An In-
terrupted Service, and Scolding Mothers — An Ordination

ORDEN was called to England that
he might be made a bishop. The
country round Hudson's Bay had
formed a part of the immense
diocese of Rupert's Land, but, with the advance of
missionary work and the increase of the white
population, it had been resolved to divide it.
An irregular slice of territory surrounding Hud-
son's Bay became the new diocese of Moosonee,
and was placed under Horden's care. No better



choice could have been made. He was in the prime
of life, and had seen twenty-one years of service in
the field.. He had shown qualities which are rarely
found together in one man.

























He was consecrated at Westminster Abbey on
December 15, 1872 ; one of the prelates who laid
their hands on him being that very Bishop Anderson
who, just twenty years before, had ordained him at


The new diocese had this peculiarity, that on one
side it had no boundary. Towards the north it
extends as far as you please; towards the south it
is now bordered by the Canadian Pacific Eailway;
eastward and westward it runs up by the shores of
the great bay. The inhabitants perhaps numbered
10,000; a few Europeans, some half-breeds, with
Crees, Ojibbeways, Chippewyans, and Eskimo. There
was no rich person in the diocese, and the Indians
in particular had many hardships to face. But the

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Online LibraryA. R. (Augustus Robert) BucklandJohn Horden, missionary bishop; a life on the shores of Hudson's Bay → online text (page 2 of 5)